Photography, Cities, France

Two Weeks in Paris

My first visit to the French capital, the heart of so much history and culture I've loved my entire life. Paris, it turns out, is quite the city.

April 23, 2017

A photo of the Parisian skyline showing the Eiffel Tower, the dome of Les Invalides, and a prominent Tricolor.

Ah, Paris. There aren't many nouns in the world that carry so much in two syllables.

Culture, kingdoms, revolutions, romance, philosophy, and a particularly large wrought-iron tower. You really can't escape it, growing up almost anywhere in the world, and it makes for a strange encounter upon your first real introduction, like meeting Zeus or Tom Hanks.

You know what you'll see but the Eiffel Tower is probably bigger than you expect when you see it in person. The food is famous but it's different when you wander into a place in the light rain and eat a croque madame on the covered terrace. Napoleon's impact on history and culture lands differently while standing next to his tomb.

Paris reflects the passage of time, the mortality of humans, and the immortality of ideas. Paris is a city and French is a culture that knows how keep its legends, whether towering figures of history or the very specific way everyone here seems to hold a cigarette.

I'll come back. I have to. Two weeks is just a first handshake with a new friend.

Looking across the calm River Seine at neatly arranged cream-colored stone buildings with mansard roofs in the iconic Parisian architectural style

A man sits calmly next to the River Seine painting the scene in the background, an arched stone bridge over the river with several boats docked along the river's edge

Looking up at the massive edifice of the Panthéon, Romanesque columns towering up from the plaza that surrounds it, below a massive dome behind prominent French flag

Looking down a long sidewalk filled with people, pointing straight toward Les Invalides, a large palatial building topped by a shiny golden dome

Looking down at a large church next to a small plaza, a classic Paris neighborhood scene

A large triumphal column turned coppery blue by the passage of time stands in the middle of a large open plaza

A view from slightly above the iconic towers and spire of Notre Dame, a large gothic cathedral towering above and surrounded by the smaller buildings of Central Paris

Looking up through a terrace at a cafe, peering at the surrounding buildings on a slightly rainy day

A neatly paved path lined by tightly trimmed, very tall, and deep green hedges leads directly to a view of the Louvre, a massive palace with multi-story windows and dramatic stone architecture

A view of one of the observation levels on the Eiffel tower, with tiny people visible among the dull grey-brown wrought iron of the archiecture

A view of an old, gothic-style church in a neighborhood, set against the backdrop of La Defense, Paris' modern business district filled with glass and steel skyscrapers

A dramatic orange and purple sunset reflects in fluffy clouds from a street in central Paris

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